Measures to avoid premises liability with pools and spas

Among children younger than 15, the second-leading cause of unintentional fatal injuries is drowning. This can happen in seconds, and the most common factor is a temporary gap in supervision. Drownings happen in bathtubs, toilets, buckets, swimming pools and spas. To avoid this and the potential for liability, Florida homeowners with pools and spas could take some measures to improve safety.

One safety feature is the installation of a five-foot fence that cannot be climbed on and that keeps the home separated from the pool or spa. The area around the barrier needs to be free of playground equipment, tables and chairs that children can climb on to go over the top. Another measure is the installation of audible alarms on all the doors that access a pool from the home so that they sound when the doors open and stop when they are closed. Homeowners could equip the alarms with switches or touchpads that allow them to deactivate it for a few seconds when adults pass through. The switches or touchpads should be positioned at least 54 inches high and deactivate the alarms for no longer than 15 seconds.

Other measures that homeowners could implement to improve pool or spa safety include installing a telephone in the area in case of emergency, power-operated pool covers and gates and doors that latch closed on their own. Homeowners should also ensure that swimmers are supervised at all times.

Those who become injured at the home of another as a result of a dangerous property condition if the homeowner did not take the necessary measures to make the property safe. This applies to drownings and other pool- or spa-related injuries suffered by adults as well as children.

Source: FindLaw, “Swimming Pools and Spas”, accessed on Jan. 28, 2015